News

Increased vitamin D intake could save Germany billions in health costs

April 2, 2010

Ensuring adequate intakes of vitamin D could save the German population about €37.5 billion in health care costs, according to a new review.

In the review, a German scientist states that up to 45 percent of the German population could be vitamin D insufficient, with an additional 15 to 30 percent deficient, thereby putting them at risk for a variety of health problems (1).

In addition, current recommendations are not enough and need to be doubled at least, with daily intakes of 25 micrograms required, the researcher commented. This would represent a significant increase from current recommendations, which range from 5 to 10 micrograms per day. Adherence to present sun safety policy and dietary recommendations would definitively lead to vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, there is an urgent need to change current sun safety policy and dietary vitamin D recommendations.

According to data from the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey (GNHIES), and the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS), a large proportion of the general German population is vitamin D insufficient or deficient. Vitamin D deficiency in adults is reported to precipitate or exacerbate osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. There is also some evidence that the vitamin may reduce the incidence of several types of cancer and type-1 diabetes.

Using estimates from a recent Europe-wide study, which put the direct and indirect costs of inadequate vitamin D levels at €187 billion for the bloc’s 363 million people, the scientist calculated that Germany could potentially save up to €38 billion annually.

References

  1. Zittermann A. The estimated benefits of vitamin D for Germany. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2010.